Thursday, October 29, 2009

Halloween Party Fun While Thinking of Those Less Fortunate

On Wednesday the 28th Maryland Middle School and High School had an incredible Halloween Party at the Wheaton Community Center. Students from Einstein and Blair High School got together and decorated the area with amazing fun decorations and held some exciting events and stations like face painting and pumpkin pie eating contest. It was great to see High School students and Middle School students able to interact with one another and have a great time.
Along with the party, the Middle School students from Parkland and Eastern helped to write "get well" cards to victims of the tsunami in Samoa and the flooding in the Philippines. The activity helped to remind them that their community can also extend to the global community and that issues in other countries can have impacts on our lives here in the U.S.
Thank you to all the Maryland staff helping to organize the event, and also to the students from middle school to high school. Your words of encouragement are more powerful than you can imagine, and the families of the tragedies will be thankful for your support.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hi Everyone!

I am AA LEAD’s new Volunteer Maryland Coordinator. Volunteer Maryland is an AmeriCorps affiliate, based out of the MD governor’s office that specializes recruiting and training volunteer coordinators, which they then match with local non-profits. It’s been a crazy first month with lots to learn and do, but everyone has been helpful and welcoming!

I’m originally from outside of Nashville, TN, but I’ve been living in Knoxville, TN for the past two years working on an MA in Chinese History (which I completed in May). Before that, I was living in China, where I spent a year teaching English and another volunteering in the social welfare system through an international NGO. I speak Mandarin and am always looking for opportunities to practice.

I’m new to the DC area and have only just started discovering all this city has to offer, so feel free to give me your suggestions of places to eat and fun things to see and do!

-Micah Shearer

What's going on for Halloween?

Bancroft Elementary students got ready for Halloween by making some fun masks during after-school programs! They got to wear these masks during the AALEAD Haunted House, which was hosted by our high school students!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Maryland High School Video Blog 1

Hello Everyone!

Please check out our first video blog from Albert Einstein High School! Congrats on the start of a great school year!


It takes a village to raise up a child

Last week during our after-school program at Bancroft Elementary school, one of our staff noticed that there was a fifth grade student who was not doing his homework. When the staff would ask the student if he has any homework, his reply was always that he didn’t have any. The scenario of the student not doing homework and denying that he had any went on for several days. Our staff had some doubts about his answer, but because we didn’t want to embarrass him before the other students, we decided to wait for the parents to talk to this student.

When the confrontation between the child, the parents, and our staff finally came, it was very emotional and intense. For some time the student tried to deny the situation. However, it became very obvious that the child was lying and was simply not interested in doing homework. I advised the student that it was not good to cover up lies with more lies, and that he should apologize. Finally, the child was humbled, acknowledged his fault, and—through near tears—broke down and apologized to both his parents and our staff.
Upon hearing that her son was lying and not doing his homework, the mother broke down in tears. The mother in her limited English and Vietnamese accent said, “ If only I was good at English, I would help you your home work myself! This is the very reason why we enrolled you in AALEAD. We are so limited in how we can help you with your school work. We know that the AALEAD teachers will help you, but unless you help yourself we cannot do anything for you.” The father, while trying to hide his emotion, also had teary eyes, revealing his disappointment in the situation. Our staff assured the student and the parents that we would continue to be there to help them as much as we can.

It was an emotional but honest time for all of us. Those few moments of conversation with the parents, AALEAD staff, and the student illustrates how we must work as a team to help our students succeed. Each of us has a unique role to support our students. And additionally, the students must realize the importance of helping themselves.

Our emotional confrontation ended with the child making his own commitment. Sincerely he told his parents, “If I will lie again with my homework, I will not play my computer for one month!”

Monday, October 19, 2009

AALEAD participates in Lights On After School!

After-school programs are so important. In the words of some students around the District:

If we didn’t have after school we would have to stay with our parent at work. Who would like that. (Age 8)

Afterschool programs are important. They keep youth off of the street and do great things like clean streets and feed the homeless. Not funding these programs is bad. (Age 15)

After school programs are important because it is something to keep your mind occupied, and not focused on all the negative things in this world. (Age 17)

To support this cause, AALEAD participated in the Lights On Event hosted by the After-school Alliance, DCAYA, and other groups. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan also made remarks!

The event was hosted at the Department of Education.

Our students were able to walk in the parade of students, eat meatballs and cake at the reception, but more importantly, see a different perspective behind the making of after-school programs that they had never seen before!

AALEAD tours the White House Garden

Thanks to the kindness of one of our board members, Jimmy Lynn, AALEAD received some tickets to attend a tour of the White House gardens this past Sunday. Not even the cold weather and rain could dampen the spirit of the student while they took a tour of the historic White House grounds.

Everyone in attendance got a rare chance to see the gardens that have been tended and expanded by every US President in residence, including the Children's Garden and the famous West Wing Rose Garden. We hope to have many chances in the future to offer our students great opportunities like this.



Thanks to support from funds from DC Council, AALEAD was able to take 8 high school students on a 2-day trip to Boston, MA from October 2-4, 2009.

The focus of the trip was to attend an: ASIAN AMERICAN WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE on Fearless Leadership: Taking Charge with Confidence.

“I learned a lot of things, the panelists have really made me think more about my future, I also like the fact I met some people from colleges, I am interested in we have things in common so I got their emails.” -11th grade AALEAD student

The students had
a chance to visit BOSTON and HARVARD UNIVERSITY and it was very motivational for them as they got the opportunity to get a taste of college life. We noticed that after the visits they started discussing different options for colleges, careers and ways to improve the grades in order to get admission in colleges.

On Saturday evening, the group had city tours of Boston, where we visited the famous Quincy Market/ Faneuil Hall, Boston Commons, and Newbury Street etc.

With the help of some additional donations,
AALEAD was able to take the girls to attend Blue Man Group in one of the theaters, which was very much appreciated by the students.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Elementary After School Program starts with a busy month

We have 110 students enrolled in our after school program for our Bancroft and Thomson sites. Most of these students are in our programs for many years now. Our staff and volunteers on site have been preparing different activities for our students.

Our program starts with recreation time for our students as they need to unwind from their long day at school.

Then snack time.....

Our staff and volunteers support our students in doing their homework. Our staff members are consistent in making sure that all our students have been doing their homework

After the homework time the students will have their "Power Hour" where students are engage in doing different enrichment activities that our staff prepared. For the last past weeks our students are doing : Arts & Crafts, Math activities, Guitar lesson, Chinese Dance and Gardening.

Small group session

Arts & Crafts

Chinese Dance every Thursday for our Thomson site.

Gardening at Bancroft School garden every Wednesday with our volunteer Teacher.

Our team also started the "15 minute Reading time" where students need to stop everything that they are doing and do reading. This is to encourage our students to improve on their reading skills.

Each day of our program our goal is to create an environment where are students can learn and enjoy their after school time with AALEAD.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Guitar Lessons at AALEAD!

Just another day at Thomson Elementary School... Students spent the first hour work on their homework before jumping into their enrichment activity...Guitar!

The older students take guitar lessons on Wednesdays where they learn simple tunes and even simple chords from one of our volunteer teachers! How exciting!

Eating out! Taste of Georgetown

On Saturday, October 10th, the Mentoring Program took a group of 25 mentors and mentees to the annual culinary event known as 'Taste of Georgetown.' Also joining us for the afternoon were potential mentors and youth interested in joining the program. After gathering at the AALEAD DC house to talk about our upcoming Sandwich Making event (November 7th), playing Hangman, and distributing tasting tickets, we made our way to the Metro. 30 minutes later we arrived, all in one piece. For the next two hours, everyone wandered among the food and activity booths on M St. and Wisconsin Ave., down by the canal.

Big hits were the hummus from Agraria Farmers & Fishers, Korean style BBQ from Mei N Yu, lobster rolls from Clydes, duck confit from 1789, and, OF COURSE, Georgetown Cupcake's two cupcake tasting. The portions were enough to share with friends, and after just a few dishes, most people were full. While the day started on a cloudy note, the rain held off and the sun returned, giving us a beautiful fall afternoon.

We'd like to remind our programs and their followers of the November community service event, Sandwich Making to benefit Martha's Table here in DC. There are items that we need for the day, and if you are interested in aiding, please contact Yamir or Christine at the DC office.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

COMING TO US, after all I made it!

Hi there
I am Masoora Ali, an Atlas Corps fellow from Pakistan and will be working with AALEAD on GIRLS program for a year.

This is my very first time in US and can you believe it has been a month already. The experience so far has been very exciting but sometimes challenging as well. I am trying to understand and figure out a lot of new things here. I am very interested to meet different people and make new friends, share my experiences and learn from others. Though it is not easy to leave home country, family, friends, good job etc but I hope that this one year will make me proud of doing it.

I am glad to be a part of very hard working team of AALEAD and look forward to contribute and extend my support in achieving the goals of AALEAD during my stay here.